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Villains Wiki
I could never grab hold of anything. Anything at all. I abandoned my home. I abandoned my wife and children. I abandoned my humanity. I cut down my descendants and abandoned being a samurai. But even all that wasn't enough? You said that those who master their paths all reach the same place. But I never did. I could not see the same world that you did. Why could I not leave anything behind? Why could I not become someone known? Why are we so different? Why in the world was I ever born? Tell me... Yoriichi.
~ Kokushibou's final thoughts
I wish I could take it all back. I honestly do. I honestly do wish I could take it all back. And not just cause I'm stranded in space. (I'm in space.) I know you are, mate! Yep. We're both in space. (SPAAAAAAAAACE!!!!!) Anyway, if I was ever to see her again, you know what I'd say? I'd say... I'm sorry! Sincerely. I am sorry that I was bossy... and monstrous... and... I am genuinely sorry. The end.
~ Wheatley with the Space Core.

Remorseful villains are characters who feel sorry for their past actions, but have not necessarily "turned good".

With almost every of these characters, their remorse can eventually lead to their redemption, but this is not always the case, as seen with Patrick McReary.

In many cases, a remorseful villain can also be a Villain by Proxy, ase those never wished to be evil (however, not all remorseful villains are automatically Villains by Proxy, as it depends on how remorse they show.).

There are several reasons a villain can feel remorse:

  • Feeling terrible for exceeding in their misdeeds, they may not truly redeem themselves in some cases but they still show real concern about their actions and the consequences that affect others and the villain(s) themselves. For example, Dozle Zabi in Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin felt guilt for ordering the genocide of the Side 2 colony and its subsequent dropping onto Earth, but continued to serve Zeon anyway. Similarly, Mashymre Cello in Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ felt tremendous regret for his role in the Dublin Colony Drop, but continued to fight for Neo Zeon. Another example is the Big Brother in Five Nights at Freddy's 4, who showed remorse and fear after accidentally killing his younger brother by putting him into the jaws of Fredbear.
  • Helping another villain far more evil than them, not being aware that they were tricked and then eventually get betrayed once they have no more use. "Crime Wave" Clyde from The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 DIC cartoons is an example.
  • Having committed atrocities in the past and now showing concern in the present on how to fix everything they've done. Benny from I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream and Bryce Walker from 13 Reasons Why are examples.
  • Realizing their schemes didn't go as they wanted and now want to either solve it with help of the heroes or do it themselves. Shou Tucker in the 2003 anime series of Fullmetal Alchemist and Joshua Washington from Until Dawn are examples.
  • Realizing that they were wrong all along about what they thought and believed was the right thing to do.

Important Notes

  • Psychopaths/sociopaths usually do not show remorse for their actions because they tend to lack empathy, guilt and/or emotional connections and act violent and twisted. However, exceptions can exist if they at least show some remorse for their actions in any way possible (e.g. Charlie Walker, Prince Killmonger, Ralph Cifaretto, Sofia Lamb, Hiro Shishigami and Homelander).
  • HIGHLY IMPORTANT: Pure Evil villains can NEVER be in this category as they completely lack empathy, never feel bad about their wrongdoings and as a result are utterly remorseless. Even if there was point in their life where they felt genuine remorse, they will drop their repentance facade once their needs and/or wants are fulfilled (e.g. Judge Claude Frollo, Ego, Suguru Kamoshida, Mysterio, Scar, Joker (DCAU), Arnim Zola, Darkrai and Light Yagami). Remorseful villains are portrayed in positive ways regardless of how terrible their acts they feel sorry for are. Therefore, if villains feel ANY remorse at all, then they are never Pure Evil, despite the fact that they may never completely redeem themselves due to their acts.
  • Also, DO NOT add these kinds of characters to this category, even if they are not Pure Evil:
    • Those who pretend to show remorse for their actions in an attempt to let the hero's guard down and kill them, these should go under Cowards and/or Trickster instead. (e.g. Dr. Eggman pretends to apologize to Sonic in Sonic Unleashed, but then Sonic realizes it's a trap, and gets turned into a werehog; Captain Hook tells Peter Pan that he is a "codfish" and when Peter Pan says that he can leave forever, he then makes his last futile attempt to kill Peter before falling into the water.)
    • Those who give a sarcastic apology to their foes, they should go under Faux Affably Evil and/or Provoker instead (e.g. Ernesto de la Cruz "apologizes" for seemingly killing Miguel and allowing Hector to fade away; Dawn Bellwether "apologizes" to Judy by saying she "liked her" before allowing her to be killed by a seemingly savage Nick).
    • Those who merely regret not being able to commit the crimes or achieving their ambitions, or merely the failure of their crimes, instead of regretting their evil actions. these should go under Envious instead (e.g. Henry Bowers from the 2017 film adaptation of IT said to Mike Hanlon that he was sad over not being the one who killed Mike's parents; Esdeath's last and only regret (as revealed in her last moments) is her inability to make Takumi smiled at her affectionately.)
    • Those who look like they are feeling bad for their actions, but then proceed to attempt to attack/kill the hero(es) anyway. (e.g. the Lemons from Cars 2. Mater tries to talk some sense into the Gremlins, Pacers, Trunkovs and Hugos that "becoming rich and powerful beyond their wildest dreams ain't gonna make them feel better." While it does look like they are realizing they were wrong, J. Curby Gremlin raises a machine gun and tries to kill the heroes anyway because it's "worth a shot!".)
    • Those who feel regret for a few specific acts they commit, but feel no remorse for their actions as a whole. (e.g. Ursula, Thanos, Sozin, Bowser, Tuco Salamanca, Front Man, Kai Chisaki, Castor Troy, Dan Tae Joo, Jafar (A Whole New World), Dr. Eggman (Archie Comics), Alexander Pierce, Dr. Nefarious, Eddie Low, James "Jimmy" Shaker, John Herod and Howard Saint).
    • Those who used to feel regret for their actions, but not anymore. (e.g. King Stefan and Tomura Shigaraki).

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